The 15 must see national parks in Canada

 

Province/Territory: Manitoba

In the north east of Manitoba Province, straddling the shores of Hudson Bay is the 11,475 square kilometre (4,430 square mile) Wapusk National Park, a name that comes from the Cree word meaning White Bear. With limited access due to its remote location and in an effort to preserve the park, the area is only accessible by helicopter or tundra buggy. One of the wildest and most remote landscapes in Canada, the park is home to Cape Churchill, renowned for being the best location in the world to witness wild polar bears.

15. Wapusk National Park

 

Province/Territory: Quebec

In the remote extreme north of Quebec Province, covering an area of some 1,133 square kilometres (437 square miles) is Pingualuit National Park, designated as such to protect the Pingualuit Meteorite Crater. From the Inuit word 'Pimple', the almost perfectly circular impact crater measures 3.5 kilometres (2.14 miles) in diameter and rises 160 metres (520 ft) above the surrounding flat tundra. Filled by rainwater, it is one of the deepest lakes in North America, one of the most transparent lakes on the planet, holding some of the purest freshwater in the world. Its extremely desolate location makes for one of the most spectacular and least visited sites in Quebec.

14. Pingualuit National Park

 

Province/Territory: Newfoundland & Labrador

 

In the east of the mainland Labrador region is the 10,700 square kilometre (4,131 square mile) Akami-Uapishku-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains National Park, the largest protected area in eastern Canada. Home to black bear, wolf packs and the threatened Mealy Mountain caribou herd, the park protects a terrain of boreal forests, high sub Arctic tundra and the incredible Mealy Mountains themselves. Reaching 1,180 metres (3,871 ft) above sea level, it makes for some of the most incredible terrain in Eastern Canada.

13. Mealy Mountains National Park

 

Province/Territory: Nunavut

 

In the extreme north of Ellesmere Island, in Nunavut at one of the most northerly points in Canada is the 37,775 square kilometre (14,585 square mile) Quttinirpaaq National Park, a name that translates to mean, 'Top Of The World'. The second most northerly national park on Earth after​ Northeast Greenland National Park, this vast protected area is also the second largest in Canada. Dominated by rocky mountains and ice, the terrain is a polar desert of barren mountains covered in ice caps and glaciers. The Barbeau Peak, sitting at a whopping 2,616 metres (8,583 ft) above sea level is the highest mountain in Nunavut. Its location and difficulty to get to makes it one of the countries least visited and most untouched locations.

12. Quttinirpaaq National Park

 

Province/Territory: British Columbia

 

In the extreme east of British Columbia, adjacent to the southern end of Banff National Park across the border in Alberta, is the 1,406 square kilometre (543 square mile) Kootenay National Park, a protected network area that runs along the Continental Divide. Encompassing an enormous region of the Canadian Rockies, the terrain is made up of high craggy peaks, enormous forests and glacial valleys. Crossed by Highway 93, most of the parks main attractions are easily accessible for most visitors, these include the Radium Hot Springs, Sinclair Canyon, Marble Canyon, Olive Lake and Numa Falls. One of the seven connected Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, the entirety of which have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Pictured is Numa Falls.

11. Kootenay National Park

 

Province/Territory: Newfoundland & Labrador

 

On the western coast of Newfoundland Island is the 1,805 square kilometre (697 square mile) Gros Morne National Park, taking its name from the provinces second highest peak, reaching 806 metres (2,644 ft) above sea level. Covering the second largest protected area in Labrador & Newfoundland, the landscape is one of freshwater fjords, incredible cliffs, barren lowlands and steep mountains partly covered in dense forest. One of the parks highlights is hiking within the Tablelands, a place of unique and complex geology. More like a barren desert, a large piece of the Earth's mantle was thrust upwards by colliding tectonic plates, exposing a landscape usually a mile beneath the planets crust, showing ancient layers of a solidified seabed within the vertical cliffs. With the Long Range Mountains among the oldest on the planet, Gros Morne National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

10. Gros Morne National Park

 

Province/Territory: Nunavut

 

In the extreme east of Nunavut, at the eastern end of Baffin Island is the 21,470 square kilometre (8,290 square mile) Auyuittuq National Park, a name that translates as, 'The Land That Never Melts'. Encompassing an area of the Penny Highlands, the terrain is one of Arctic wilderness that includes fjords, rugged mountains, deep valleys, glaciers and ice fields. The parks most notable features include the 6,000 square kilometre (2,300 square mile) Penny Ice Cap, the 2,015 metre (6,611 ft) high flat topped cylindrical twin peaked Mount Asgard and the equally well known Mount Thor. With an almost flat cliff face, the overhanging cliff measures 1,250 metres (4,101 ft) to the valley floor, making it Earth's greatest vertical drop. The natural wonders of the Baffin Mountains within Auyuittuq National Park certainly make it one of Canada's most visually striking wilderness areas.

9. Auyuittuq National Park

 

Province/Territory: British Columbia

 

In the extreme east of British Columbia, north of Kootenay National Park and bordering Banff National Park across the border with Alberta is the 1,313 square kilometre (507 square mile) Yoho National Park, its name deriving from the Cree word for awe and wonder. Home to high snow capped mountains, ice fields, glaciers, lakes and dense forests, it also holds within it the Takakkaw Falls, measuring 380 metres (1,250 ft) it is the second tallest waterfall in Canada. Another highlight of the park is Lake O'Hara, considered one of the prettiest in the region. The lake and valley are accessible by road, though with limited service to preserve the environment, many visitors opt for the 11 kilometre hike. One of the seven Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Yoho National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

8. Yoho National Park

 

Province/Territory: Quebec

 

In the far north east of Quebec Province, straddling the border with Newfoundland & Labrador is the 4,460 square kilometre (1,722 square mile) Kuururjuaq National Park, encompassing part of the incredible Torngat mountain range. Home to the highest peaks in eastern Canada, the daddy of the park is the enormous Mont D'lberville (Mount Caubvick), standing a whopping 1,646 metres (5,400 ft) above sea level. Carved by the Koroc River and home to 24 species of land mammal that includes black bear and polar bear, the terrain comprises high rugged peaks, great open permafrost covered valleys, seasonal lakes and vast plateaus.

7. Kuururjuaq National Park

 

Province/Territory: Alberta

 

In the west of Alberta, straddling the border with British Colombia along the Continental Divide is the 10,878 square kilometre (4,200 square mile) Jasper National Park, the largest protected area in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Easily accessible from the Icefields Parkway that runs through the heart of the park, the landscape is one of high mountains, large glaciers, waterfalls, pristine lakes, sub-alpine forests, canyons, hot springs and vast wilderness. Some of the most scenic spots and highlights include Mount Edith Cavell, the immense Columbia Icefield, Pyramid Lake, Pyramid Mountain, Maligne Lake, Medicine Lake, Tonquin Valley and Fryatt Valley. With so much to see over such a vast area its difficult to choose the perfect hiking trail. The entire Jasper National Park, as part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Pictured is Maligne Lake.

6. Jasper National Park

 

Province/Territory: British Columbia

In the east of British Columbia, encompassing the northern part of the Selkirk Mountains is the 1,349 square kilometre (521 square mile) Glacier National Park, earning its name due to the impressive 131 glaciers that cover 133 square kilometres (51 square miles). Bisected by two major transport routes, the Canadian Pacific Railway and Trans Canada Highway, this amazing national park can be accessed with relative ease. Both routes through the park use the Rogers Pass, a high mountain pass that crosses the range at 1,330 metres (4,360 ft) above sea level, itself designated a National Historic Site of Canada. One of the three oldest protected areas in Canada, home to high peaks, large glaciers, dense forests and the countries largest cave systems, it is another jewel of Canada's beautiful national park system.

5. Glacier National Park

 

Province/Territory: Yukon Territory

In the extreme south west of the Yukon Territory, straddling the border with Alaska and British Columbia is the 22,013 square kilometre (8,499 square mile) Kluane National Park. Encompassing an area of the St. Elias Mountains, the park is home to the 5,959 metre (19,551 ft) Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak. Dominated by mountains and glaciers, the park also covers an area of forest and tundra, making for some of the Yukon's most perfect natural untouched scenery. Connected across the borders with the Alaskan Wrangell St. Elias and Glacier Bay National Parks, and British Columbia's Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park, this vast landscape that includes Kluane National Park has been declared a UNESCO National World Heritage Site.

 

Pictured is Kathleen Lake.

4. Kluane National Park

 

Province/Territory: Northwestern Territories

 

In the south west of the province is the jewel of the Northwestern Territories, the 30,050 square kilometre (11,602 square mile) Nahanni National Park, a name that means 'River Of The Land Of The Naha People', named after the spectacular whitewater river that cuts its way through the region. Encompassing the Mackenzie Mountains, the parks peaks are as rugged and spectacular as any on Earth, none more so than those found in the Ragged Range and the Cirque Of The Unclimbables. Other key landmarks in the park include the Rebitkettle Hot Springs, home to the largest tufa mounds in Canada, and Virginia Falls, one of the most visually impressive waterfalls in the country. Falling 96 metres (315 ft) in a thunderous plume of spray, the raging river falls more than twice the height of Niagara Falls. Such is the diversity of terrain and wildlife in Nahanni National Park, the entire protected area has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Pictured is an area known as the Cirque Of The Unclimbables.

3. Nahanni National Park

 

Province/Territory: Newfoundland & Labrador

In the extreme north east of the Labrador Peninsula is the 9,700 square kilometre (3,745 square mile) Torngat Mountains National Park, encompassing the spectacular landscape of the Torngat Mountains, a name from the Inuktitut word meaning Place Of Spirits. Home to the highest peaks in Canada east of the Rockies, including the 1,652 metre (5,420 ft) Mont D'lberville, the park protects caribou, black bear, wolf packs and polar bears among a number of other species. The terrain is a treeless, predominantly rocky desert within the Arctic tundra, creating scenery that is among the most rugged and picturesque anywhere in Canada.

2. Torngat Mountains National Park

 

Province/Territory: Alberta

 

West of the city of Calgary, straddling the border of British Columbia's Yoho and Kootenay National Parks across the Continental Divide is the 6,641 square kilometre (2,564 square mile) Banff National Park, the oldest national park in Canada and the most visited in North America. Entirely within the high Rocky Mountains, the terrain is one of high snowy peaks, numerous glaciers and ice fields, pristine lakes, dense forests, deep valleys, canyons and picturesque wilderness. Though its popularity has made it more crowded than other nearby parks in recent years, it's popular for a very good reason, and that reason is probably its high concentration of picture perfect lakes. Highlights include the deep blue Moraine Lake in the Valley Of Ten Peaks, Bow Lake, Lake Minnewanka, the incredibly beautiful Peyto Lake and the infamous Lake Louise, the single most famous lake of the Canadian Rockies. Banff National Park, as part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1. Banff National Park

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